Corporate sponsorship: An extra mile for Nigeria cultural festival promotion

•As Bet9ja boosts Olojo outing

The call by the Federal Government to focus on the non-oil sector and the creative industry is the beginning of better things for Nigeria as the government aspires to sustain the economy and people’s standard of living. Since the government cannot do it alone, it gives room for private individuals and corporate organisations to join the move.

Most of the sponsors of large events are, of course, large companies. However, part of the increase in corporate sponsorship worldwide is attributable to the number of small and medium sized firms that are becoming involved.

Largely, entities could afford to sponsor large events as a way of building goodwill and boosting revenue. But in today’s business environment, small companies have embraced sponsorship of everything from local fiesta to festivals, as an effective means of increasing their visibility in their home community.

Corporate sponsorship, Nigeria
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II (middle),his Olori, Silekunola Oluwaseyi and others, at the 2019 Olojo Festival in Ile, Osun State.

Many of these sponsorships enable small companies to increase their public profile in a relatively cost-effective manner.

In Nigeria, many have started coming to terms with this business peculiarity, not only to give back to the society that patronises them, but also giving the people a sense of belonging as part of the community and using it to reach more niche market thus breaking socioeconomic and cultural barriers.

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This also helps during tourism events to enrich the community as more of the indigenes , directly or indirectly, are engaged in one or more activities during  cultural festivals or sports tourism, among others.

One of those belling the cat of the tourism industry through sponsorship and corporate social responsibility is the Bet9ja, which efforts, in recent times have gone beyond just betting and now giving meaning to people-driven activities, enabling Nigerians achieve their dream of socio-economic empowerment that enhances their standard of living.

The just-concluded revered festival of the people of Ile Ife, Olojo, enjoyed the full weight of the betting company’s brand sponsorship, which sees Olojo celebration as part of its effort to promote the rich cultural heritage viz-a-viz adding value to the host community where they operate in Nigeria.

The unique point of the 2019 edition of the festival was when the Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, emerged from his seclusion to the rousing cheer of the people accompanied by gunshots as local hunters in their numbers shot sporadically into the air. The gunshots, according to tradition, will help energise Oba Ogunwusi as well as help him to withstand the  weight of the Aree crown, which is said to have unprecedented spiritual power and weight.”

Guarded on both sides by traditional aides with canes in both hands who cleared the path for him, Oba Ogunwusi symbolically walked out of the palace to the Ogun shrine. The crowd was static hailing the Ooni as he continued to pray for good fortune for the people and the land of Ife.

Various cultural groups of Oodua were seen around the palace in their colourful attires. Also, some individuals believed to be worshippers of Osun, Sango and Ogun filed out to pay homage to the Ooni.

The chiefs in their traditional regalia and staff danced as local drummers entertained the crowd in very peculiar ways. People from different family compounds in Ife came out to also pay homage to the Ooni as entertainers performed before the king, praying for him.

Corporate sponsorship, Nigeria
Some of the Ooni’s subjects paying homage at the festival.

Speaking on the significance of Olojo festival, Oba Ogunwusi said “It is the day all the creation converged and the melting point is the sacred Aree crown. It is the creation that brought about the entire world.

“The creation of the new dawn and the very first day in the world is what we are celebrating here. This festival is sacred and spiritual. That is the day that Aree crown comes out.

“The spectrum of the rainbow is called Osumare. It is the bunch we have inside and outside Aree crown. It depicts the colour of Africa; the black race is linked to multiple colours.”

For Bet9ja believes in Nigeria and supports local and international festivals like Olojo to preserve the Yoruba culture and complement government’s efforts to build an economically viable tourism industry through festivals.

As part of its strategic brand proposition, which goes beyond betting, Bet9ja has demonstrated its commitment to enhancing livelihoods through its operations in Nigeria by supporting this year’s Olojo festival, a cultural festival which has remained popular in Ile-Ife because of its myth and history.

Bet9ja’s support for Nigerian festivals is predicated on the desire to preserve and protect the country as one with a rich cultural heritage. It stories to put various cultural festivals in the country on the international pedestal to galvanise their potential to generate revenue for the communities’ bonding.

Speaking on this year’s Olojo festival, the Senior Marketing Manager, Bet9ja, Olufemi Osobajo, said “As an organisation, we are passionate about the Nigerian culture and heritage. As a result of this, we joined in the Olojo celebration as part of our effort to promote the rich cultural heritage found throughout the Nigerian landscape under our sustainable business strategy to add value to our host community of operations.

“With this strategy, we are evolving into a strong pillar of support to festival celebrations in Nigeria. Beyond Olojo festival, we will explore supporting more festivals across the country committing to uplifting these festivals to an international tourist standard.”

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